Pet Sitter’s Advice
- For safety’s sake. During the initial meeting you will have the opportunity to assess the dog and the house to make sure it is a good fit for you. Pay particular attention to aggressive behavior and ask about it. You want to know if the dog has ever bitten anyone. Aggression has only been an issue a handful of times in my experience however, you don’t want to get bit by the dog or even snarled or snapped at. Make sure the dog becomes familiar with you so he will recognize you when the client is gone. The meet and greet is as much for you, the pet sitter, as it is for the client. Remember – it is perfectly acceptable to turn down jobs that make you uncomfortable for any reason.
- To make sure everyone’s tail is wagging when you meet. This is a phrase I always use when I tell clients I’d like to schedule the meet and greet. It is imperative to meet the dog with the client BEFORE you agree to anything. How else will you be able to find out everything you need to know to take care of the dog and the house, if you’re house sitting.? Pet sitters must write down pertinent client information. (If you haven’t already, download my client checklist here.) Do not count on your memory to remember valuable instructions.
- This is your opportunity to decide if you want the job. Is the neighborhood safe? Does the client seem friendly and agreeable? Are you communicating with the client in a manner that is acceptable to you? Remember, there is plenty of business; you do not need to take every job that comes along.
- Get the keys! If you and the client have agreed to move forward and the job is confirmed, have the customer give you the house keys and make sure they work. Do not assume the client has given you the correct key. There is nothing worse than arriving at a clients for the first visit only to realize their house key is in fact, not the house key. Also, be sure to go over any alarm instructions. Practice deactivating and activating the alarm while the client is present. And last, but not least:
- Get the money! During the meet and greet, after everything has gone smoothly and you’ve collected the keys and confirmed that they work, take payment. Honestly, if you have the customer’s house key, the job is yours so get your money. I often take payment on the spot. In these days of electronic payments, its easy for a client to PayPal you or write you a check. I also have a credit card processor on my smart phone so I can take credit card payments. Avoid having the client leave you a check on the first visit if at all possible. The one thing worse than setting the alarm off on the initial visit is to get in the door and see the client has gone on their trip without remembering your check. If a client insists on paying you at the end of their trip, ask for a post-dated check. Remember, you are trying to avoid multiple unpaid trips to the clients. There are a few different schools of thought on wherever you want to hold the clients money until the job is over or not. I say cash the check. I’ve only issued two refunds after fifteen years as a professional pet sitter and in both cases it was because the trip was cancelled and both times due to medical reasons.
I hope this list will help you in your pet-sitting career. Remember, you are providing a valuable service and the client is counting on you to take care of their furry children and their home. Be professional at all times and you will have tons of loyal clients. Happy sitting!
Please leave a comment below or ask any questions. I am here to help and support all of you in our pet sitting adventures